Chapter 6: Part V: 10 Things I Found Useful to Do While Recovering From Depression

I wish that I’d always had the will power to do the things on this list. However, there were certainly days when I couldn’t muster the necessary energy and motivation. Most of these things were helpful after my depression had peaked and I was beginning to recover. I hope they help someone else:

  1. Get straight out of bed in the morning – no dawdling. I would try to get up, shower, eat, and get on with the day (sounds easy, but felt insurmountable at the time).
  2. Got my sleeping issues fixed. I was willing to do whatever it took to get it fixed. Pills, melatonin, totally dark bedroom. Tiredness was like caffeine for my depression – it boosted it to a whole new level.
  3. Tried to avoid going on ‘auto-pilot’ on day-to-day tasks. Taking a new route to work kept me concentrating on my driving. This, in turn, helped to keep me out of my own head. I even listened to a different radio station every day to help me focus on the DJs and the music.
  4. Exercise… not only did this help improve my own self-image, but the natural endorphins released helped improve my mood. What amounts to exercise varied from day to day but could be anything from a walk in the woods to a workout lifting weights. I had no interest in exercise at the peak of my depression, but as things improved, the workouts really did help.
  5. Eat healthy. I had a tendency to eat junk or not eat at all when feeling down or anxious. Without the relevant amino acids and other nutrients, our bodies cannot manufacture the chemicals we need to stay happy. Also, if we run low on energy, we become tired and we’ve already talked about the effects of that!
  6. Accepted all the help available to me. Doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, naturopaths, acupuncturists, shamen and witchdoctors… the list goes on. I kept an open mind. My brain, like all brains, is incredibly complex (depending on which of my friends you ask!).
  7. Avoided stress. I cut back on my workload (luckily I work in a profession where this is possible and I had an incredibly understanding boss). I took life as easy as possible. My body needed time to recover (I’d say about ten months in my case). It was akin to being in a car accident… it took time to heal completely and I feel lucky that I didn’t die.
  8. Kept a ‘Gratitude Diary’. Every night before bed, I wrote two or three things down that I was grateful for. This included things from that day or from further in the past. This bedtime habit helped to keep my thoughts positive just before bed. It only took a few weeks and I found myself thinking of more upbeat things the moment I walked into my bedroom at night. Like some of the other things on this list, this one did not help at the peak of my depression, but certainly did as my mind healed.
  9. Do the things that I love to do. I did not feel like it, and I often had to fake it at first, but ‘faking it’ sometimes turned into ‘enjoying it’… often when I least expected it.
  10. Did my best to stay in the present. My mind tended to be thinking forwards or backward in time. When I was depressed, this amounted to regretting things that had happened in the past and worrying about things that might happen in the future. Often, there was actually nothing to worry about in the present moment, but much to appreciate.

One thought on “Chapter 6: Part V: 10 Things I Found Useful to Do While Recovering From Depression”

  1. Good advice. I have found that I am susceptible to depression when I have become seriously ill. This happened when I was diagnosed with cancer and was allergic to chemo drugs and nearly died. It took nearly 18 months to get better mostly from severe depression. I learnt not to beat myself up about being depressed. Not to fight it or be guilty about it, it is an illness. I went with it, I believe it was my body’s way of slowing me down. As I came out of the depression I did a lot of the things you listed. And I didnt let myself feel guilty about the time it took, hard to do! I also found eliminating sugar and eating every 3 to 4 hours really keeps one on track. Good luck! Thanks for the advice.

    Liked by 1 person

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